947 James Chester

Biography

A Rolls Royce of a defender. Never was a cliche more apt than to describe James Chester, a fabulous servant to Hull City for four and a half years and perhaps the most gifted defender we have witnessed for a generation or two. He joined City in January 2011, a key building block in Nigel Pearson’s oft-overlooked rebuilding programme. From the off there was something special about Chester – unflappable, an incredible tackler, impassable when one-on-one and from time to time an eye for goal. His defending was pivotal in City’s rise to the Premier League under Steve Bruce and Chessy reached the world stage in May 2014 when he returned from a hamstring injury to score the unlikely, lung-deflating opener in the FA Cup Final against Arsenal, then weeks later make his international debut for Wales. His last two seasons were punctuated by spells of injury and when City tumbled out of the top flight in 2015 it was time for Chester to move on. But what a player, what a servant, and what a gentleman.

Warrington-born James Grant Chester was associated with Manchester United from the age of 8, he made his Red Devils debut in January 2009 in the improbable setting of a League Cup Semi-Final second leg against Derby County, a first leg shellacking having encouraged United to field a team of younger stars in the routine second leg.  He subsequently had three loan spells, making 5 appearances at League 1 side Peterborough United shortly after his Manchester United debut, 3 appearances for Championship side Plymouth Argyle in September 2009 and 24 appearances in the first half of the 2010/11 season for League 1 side Carlisle United, which yielded four goals. It was this third loan spell at Carlisle that saw Chester’s rise to prominence, attracting Hull City’s interest.

As City were relegated from the Premier League Chester stayed in the top flight signing for West Bromwich Albion. But his spell at The Hawthorns was to last only a single season and featured 19 senior appearances as Baggies’ boss Tony Pulis failed to find a regular berth for the elegant Chester in his first team full of lunking giants. In August 2016 Chester moved to Aston Villa, reunited with his former City boss Steve Bruce, where he resumed regular first team duties with calm assuredness. In three seasons he scored 12 times in 126 appearances for the Villa before a serious injury hampered his game time under Bruce’s successor Dean Smith, who managed to take Villa back to the Premier League in 2019. In January 2020 Chester joined Stoke City on loan and made 16 appearances. The move was made permanent in August 2020 and resuming a first team berth, Chester added another 55 appearances in two and a half seasons before leaving Stoke in the 2022 close season. James signed for financially crippled Derby County in July 2022 but with his injuries catching up with him he made only 7 appearances for Paul Warne’s side before his release in May 2023.

After a summer considering options, at the end of August 2023 Chester joined League 2 side Barrow.

Although also qualified for the England national side, Chester plumped for Wales in June 2014, qualifying through his mother’s birthplace, and made his senior debut in a 0-2 defeat to the Netherlands. Over the next four years he was a Wales regular and amassed 35 international caps, the last of which came in a November 2018 Nations League tie against Denmark.

Details

Nationality: Wales
Date/Place of Birth: 23 January 1989, Warrington
Hull City First Game: 15 January 2011, Barnsley H (Championship), 21 years, 357 days old
Hull City Final Game: 24 May 2015, Manchester United H (Premier League), 26 years, 121 days old

Clubs

Manchester United (2005-2011), Peterborough United (2009, loan), Plymouth Argyle (2009, loan), Carlisle United (2010-2011, loan), Hull City (2011-2015), West Bromwich Albion (2015-2016), Aston Villa (2016-2020), Stoke City (2020, loan), Stoke City (2020-2022), Derby County (2022-2023), Barrow (2023-current)

Hull City Record

Career: 171 apps, 8 goals

James Chester
SeasonLGE
App
LGE
Gls
FAC
App
FAC
Gls
FLC
App
FLC
Gls
EUR
App
EUR
Gls
OTH
App
OTH
Gls
2010/1121 (0)1
2011/1244 (0)21 (0)0
2012/1343 (1)12 (0)02 (0)0
2013/1422 (2)14 (1)1
2014/1523 (0)21 (0)04 (0)0

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